Massa announces Formula 1 retirement
Felipe Massa has announced that he will retire from Formula 1 at the end of the season.
The Williams driver is one of the most experienced on the grid having contested 242 races in a 14-year stint in motor racing’s top tier.
Massa, who is out of contract at Williams, had earlier expressed a desire to secure a new deal at the Grove squad for 2017.
The 35-year-old is set to contest his 250th and final race at the Abu Dhabi season finale (November 25-27).
“I’m more nervous now than all my race starts,” said Massa upon announcing his retirement during a press conference ahead of this weekend’s Italian Grand Prix.
“After 27 years of my racing career, since I started karting and with 15 years in F1, this will be my last season in F1.
“Thank you to everybody who is around me and follows me in my career.
“Every team I have been a part of has been a special experience, and not only in F1.
“I have so many great memories over the years and thank everyone in all the teams I have come through to help me get to where I am today.
“My career has been more than I ever expected and I am proud of what I have achieved.”
Massa has recorded 11 victories, 41 podiums and 16 pole positions during an F1 career which began in 2002 with Sauber, a year after winning the European Formula 3000 series.
After a turbulent debut season, he joined Ferrari as a test driver before returning to Sauber for two seasons.
He landed a career-defining move to Ferrari in 2006 where he became an understudy to Michael Schumacher in the seven-time world champion’s final season at the Scuderia.
Ferrari presented Massa with a title shot in 2008 which ended in an agonising loss to Lewis Hamilton by a single point.
The Maranello operation delivered all of his 11 wins with his last arriving at the 2006 Brazilian Grand Prix.
Massa’s career was almost cut short in 2009 when he suffered a skull fracture in a freak accident at Hungary that ruled him out of the final eight races of the season.
Williams provided a new home in 2014 after eight years at Ferrari, prolonging the likeable Brazilian’s career for a further three seasons.
Massa’s announcement leaves a vacancy at Williams for 2017. Out-of-contract McLaren driver Jenson Button is among the contenders for the seat.